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MNU Nursing Lab Gets Major Boost from Grants

Rocketing Enrollment Leads to Lab Renewal

By Steve Baska
Jan. 27, 2014

The nursing skills lab at MNU recently received major improvements with the help of a grant from the John W. and Effie E. Speas Memorial Trust, Bank of America, trustee. The improvements were necessary due to unprecedented growth of enrollment in the program in recent years.

The lab, located in the Cook Center, has patient beds with patient simulators--lifelike mannequins that respond to stimuli--and other equipment that assists students in learning nursing skills. The grant of $84,980 purchased new equipment that helps nursing students train on the same equipment they will use in a hospital or doctor’s office setting. Among the many items purchased were five wall-mounted diagnostic systems with equipment to look into patients’ eyes, noses, ears; 11 patient headwalls (used to control the application or use of oxygen and suction); 10 units of oxygen supply tubes; six intravenous (IV) pumps, and four IVs for practicing insertion of IV into forearms.

Enrollment in MNU’s nursing program has grown from 76 students in 2008 to 567 students in the spring of 2013. To keep up with this growth, updates to the lab were needed, and the Speas Trust generously helped do so. 

“We are so appreciative of the individuals and organizations who donated to enable us to teach our students,” said Michelle Hamlin, MSN, RN, clinical coordinator and assistant professor in the nursing department. “We have high expectations of our students to be good clinicians, and it all starts here in the lab. Now students can turn on suction and use oxygen as it is actually practiced in hospitals.”

New beds and electronic charting equipment also simulate today’s hospital settings. “The beds enable students to raise and lower patients, and to change patient positions in bed,” she said. “And learning how to do electronic charting is important because few hospitals use paper charts today.”

>Jessica Scarlett of Leawood and Priscilla Ngugi, of Olathe, both junior nursing majors at MNU, practice their skills on a patient simulator as Associate Professor Kathi Czanderna, PhD, RN, COHN-S, instructs.

Nursing student at MNU get realistic skills training through Medium to Low Fidelity Simulations (MLFS) with patient simulators that talk, express pain and can stop breathing. This allows students to practice basic nursing skills in a setting where no live patients can be harmed. This type of simulation is typically done with larger groups of students working on skills such as inserting IVs, listening to heart rate and breathing sounds, and dispensing medication. This area of the lab was recently expanded by 560 square feet thanks to a donation of $150,000 over three years by the Olathe Medical Center. Click the following link for a video tour of the improvements in the nursing skills lab.

In another building, students perform High Fidelity Simulations (HFS), clinical experiences delivered at the highest level of realism without risking the safety and quality of care of a real patient. In this Virtual Patient Center, students perform entirely in the role of a registered nurse to develop critical thinking skills combined with nursing skills.  Nursing faculty do not interact  with students during the HFS experience. Instead, the faculty design and control medical situations in an individual patient room where three to five students carry out the scenario in an enclosed space that mimics a patient’s room or an intensive care unit (ICU).

The nursing program has several additional sources of grant support and scholarships, including a generous anonymous donor in 2012, the Kansas Board of Regents, a private foundation, and the Robert W. Johnson Foundation.

MidAmerica Nazarene University is a comprehensive, private, Christian, liberal arts university of more than 1850 students in Olathe, Kansas. The School of Nursing and Health Science offers an accelerated Master of Science in Nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the following formats: an RN to BSN, an Accelerated BSN and a traditional BSN program.

MNU is the proud recipient of five consecutive years of funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s New Careers in Nursing scholarship program. The scholarship exists to encourage students into the nursing field and promote diversity. MNU is one of 52 select institutions nationwide to receive the funding.

MNU’s main campus is located on 105 acres in Olathe, Kan. Select nursing programs are also offered online. Additional on-site locations include Liberty, Mo., and North Kansas City Hospital.

More information on nursing education at MNU may be found at

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